Revenue cliffs

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Deacon
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Revenue cliffs

Post by Deacon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:41 pm

Lately there's been talk of a fiscal cliff and raising taxes. Long has it been held that the cure for the dead-end road of government dependence is to increase dependence on government. We are getting dumber, entrenching further, and engaging in dogmatic deafness, ignoring and refusing to acknowledge anything that can't be spun to accommodate our presupposed notions.

And on the back of all of this, we have leftists, rock hard after Obama eked out a win for four more years in the White House, are now having hate sex with the media, bombarding readers with terms like "revenue increases" in a cynical gamble that readers will be dumb enough to not realize they mean tax hikes or at least that they won't understand that higher taxes does not mean linearly higher revenue and definitely does not spell financial independence or even just moderate prosperity for the 99%.

And in the mean time it appears the Republicans have learned nothing from their defeat in the POTUS and Senate elections and continue to harp on issues no one cares about and from the wrong direction.

Please, people! Can we admit that there are going to be some nuggets of truth and usefulness from each side and abandon the "my side needs to win on everything at all costs!" crap in favor of a pragmatic and reasoned look at what works and what doesn't?

This is fun, too. There seems to be a theme in the headlines.

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by ampersand » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:53 pm

I completely agree. And CS22, before you even decide to say a word: shut it. This isn't the thread to argue.

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by collegestudent22 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:28 am

This isn't the thread to argue.
That depends entirely on what I intend to say, doesn't it? Are you trying to say I should not be allowed to discuss my opinion on the "fiscal cliff"?
Can we admit that there are going to be some nuggets of truth and usefulness from each side and abandon the "my side needs to win on everything at all costs!" crap in favor of a pragmatic and reasoned look at what works and what doesn't?
Deacon, Deacon, Deacon. That isn't how politics works! If we abandon the "my side needs to win on everything at all costs!" mentality, we can only replace it with "compromise for the sake of compromise" where we just throw together the worst of all sides in a "bipartisan effort". A "pragmatic and reasoned look" at what works would mean no drastic tax increases, and some spending cuts for the first time in a very long time. You won't get this - you have one party that wants to tax the rich more and spend like drunken sailors, and another party that wants to not tax the rich more, but keep spending like drunken sailors. It's the whole "save the whole world with our spending" paradigm - accepted by both parties - that is the root of the issue.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by Arres » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:44 pm

CS22 wrote:That depends entirely on what I intend to say, doesn't it? Are you trying to say I should not be allowed to discuss my opinion on the "fiscal cliff"?
In his defense, you HAVE stuck with pretty much "This wouldn't be a problem if only we lived in Anarchy" lately.

...This was not an invitation to discuss that.

I think that I would like to see both parties get their way a little. I'd like a tax increase with a spending decrease. At the very least, I would like the government to sit down and formally declare what kind of economics they plan to base their budget decisions on.

It's my understanding that some strains of economic thought hold that governments (particularly the American one since it's money is an international standard) do not have to worry about debt, because they can always inflate it away. In that sense, they don't HAVE to have a balanced budget, and all this posturing is just that. If that's the case(I don't know enough about economics to really have an opinion if that's a good thing), fine but let's just SAY that. If it's NOT, and the government should operate like a REALLY FUCKING BIG household budget with no more going out than coming in except on occasion, then lets stop acting like 19 yr olds with our first credit card.
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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by collegestudent22 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:19 pm

Well, it wouldn't be. With no government, you wouldn't have a problem with government spending too much, right? :lol:

I digress.
I'd like a tax increase with a spending decrease.
Other than compromise as an end in itself, why?
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by The Cid » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:43 pm

I agree with the general sentiment that now is not the time to play our team games. Blah blah Civil Cold War blah blah too divided and all that stuff I normally say.

What worries me about all of this is that fixing the problem--truly fixing it, rather than approving band-aid measures--would require a number of difficult conversations that I'm not sure anyone in America wants to have. Not only do we want to avoid these conversations, it's likely that we are incapable of having those discussions without everything devolving into blamestorming and isn't it so fucking sad that we have a word for that?

Everyone wants to "avoid the fiscal cliff," but not if it involves cutting back on anything that their political overlords support. So nobody wants to cut spending in any meaningful way because that would involve cutting one of their own favorite things. Nobody wants to deal with party hardliners who bristle at the slightest thought of compromise. Nobody wants to turn to their own choir and say "I'm sorry, the program you support isn't really feasible with our current economic situation, so we'll just have to wait." That, after all, does not win elections. Grand gestures win elections, so you can point to something and say "see, I did that." Nobody campaigns as a thinker, because sadly in some circles thinking is considered counterproductive. And both parties have anti-thought groups to which they must pander. There's no such thing as "open minded" in politics--you're either strong in your beliefs (that is, idiotically stubborn) or you're a "flip-flopper" that can't be trusted.

Consider how shocked we were when the governor of New Jersey and the President of the United States worked together and said positive things about one another despite being in opposite parties. Think about that. We were shocked that Chris Christie and Barack Obama--two adults with degrees, who work in a field that seems to require some kind of people skills--put the needs of people (or, to be more cynical, voters) above the petty bullshit between their parties. This is where we're at. That's not only the exception to the rule, it's rare enough that the two working together was newsworthy by itself.

It's good that we disagree. This is a huge country with many different cultures within the borders. We have a lot of different people with different life experiences. These discussions are important, as we only see life through our own filters generally. What needs to stop is the idea that, because we disagree, the side I support has to win, and the other viewpoint is to be viewed as hostile and dangerous. Right now it's all about winning, like it's a team sport. I know this because I follow sports, and I act that way during the games. And it's silly, and it makes me look like a jackass, but then the game ends and I put that attitude away until the next contest. But this is a little more important than, say, a Kirk vs. Picard argument, which is precisely why we have stuff like that. So we can get our idiotic arguing out of the way over something stupid that does not matter. Because, if we're being honest, that stuff can be a lot of fun when you've got the time.

So in short, I like this thread. I think it's time we embraced the fact that we have so many different viewpoints. It's one of the coolest things about this country. When various political groups talk about winning, you get the feeling they'd like a world where everybody thinks and votes like they do. How boring would that be? That's one of the many reasons I'm always in favor of people joining fringe parties that better represent their political ideals. If we could get everyone to the table, representing themselves and not some team, we'd probably get some awesome solutions pretty fast. Or maybe I'm just a terrible optimist.
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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by collegestudent22 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:46 pm

The Cid wrote:That, after all, does not win elections.
As Mencken used to say, "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." Telling people you won't give them stuff is not the way to win.
Consider how shocked we were when the governor of New Jersey and the President of the United States worked together and said positive things about one another despite being in opposite parties.
I was not. I fully expected that sort of thing to happen. When it is the people vs. FEMA, you can be damned sure the inefficient bureaucracy that prevents people from helping each other will be supported by the politicians - of any party.
If we could get everyone to the table, representing themselves and not some team, we'd probably get some awesome solutions pretty fast. Or maybe I'm just a terrible optimist.
The political system of democracy is not designed to do this. The way to victory is a combination of promising the best sorts of goodies stolen from taxpayers with demagoguery to whip up the basest fears of the mob against your opponent - who will obviously fail to protect us from foreigners, terrorists, job loss, poverty, illness, and everything else under the sun. It is sadly inevitable that, as long as we have democracy, the men and women in power will be the lowest kind of individual - the kind that has sold their honor and dignity for a job.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by The Cid » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:23 pm

Just wanted to use this thread to briefly vent.

Die-hard members of both major parties: Congratulations. You are going to screw every last one of us because The Other Guy is too evil to work with. Clearly, your allegiance is to your political party, not your country, not any troops, not a single civilian who isn't paying you.

Every individual member of the federal government deserves to lose their job over this. All of them. No excuse for this.
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Revenue cliffs

Post by Deacon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:53 pm

I've thought about this a little, recently. What's the difference between a principled stand and a partisan jerk? If I adopt the platform that I should be able to beat my wife 6 times a week, are you a jerk if you refuse to meet me half way and compromise on 3?
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by The Cid » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:44 am

Deacon wrote: What's the difference between a principled stand and a partisan jerk?
Well, for it to be a principled stand, there needs to be more principle behind it than "screw the other party in the ear."

A principled stand would be from someone who has something to lose, which members of Congress really do not. You can say their jobs are at stake, but not really. If they please their party overseers, they will get all the national attention they need to ensure re-election. If you are fine with your taxes going up instead of a stopgap deal that you would dislike, that's a principled stand, but I'll note that you likely don't have a vote in this matter.

A principled stand is not showing the president what's what by, to quote It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, blasting people in the ass with taxes. Particularly from a group that's been trying to convince me for my entire life that they want lower taxes in general for everybody. Or, for that matter, the opposite group that has been trying to convince me despite mountains of evidence to the contrary that they support people with middle-class incomes that wish to start their own businesses. Obviously, at least in this case, the Republicans' supposed hatred of high taxes, as well as the Democrats' pandering to the "middle class," is utter horseshit. So what principle does anyone have on which to make a stand, besides the normal voter that otherwise has no say?

If that came across as angry at anyone but members of Congress, the Executive Branch, and every adviser they've ever had, it was not intended to.
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Revenue cliffs

Post by ampersand » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:56 am

If this were happening in any other country, the military would have taken over, killed everyone from the Supreme Court justices to the legislative page kids and every cabinet member in between. Frankly, I'm surprised there hadn't been a military coup in Greece.

Of course, nothing would change on the economic front, but that's beside the point.

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by collegestudent22 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:07 pm

The Cid wrote:
Deacon wrote: What's the difference between a principled stand and a partisan jerk?
Well, for it to be a principled stand, there needs to be more principle behind it than "screw the other party in the ear."
The only way one can really be sure is if the principles remain the same whenever the question comes up. That is the case with only one or two Congressmen - and they are always excoriated for "not getting things done" on the Hill. The refrain is always "How many bills did you pass? What have you done for me?" not "Did you stick to principles I agree with?"
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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Re: Revenue cliffs

Post by Martin Blank » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:20 am

Over the last few weeks, a number of politicians on all sides and from both the Executive and Legislative Branches have done something that I both expected but would not have been surprised to not see: back off of their stated principles and allow some room for the Other Side's requests. The spending cuts still seem to be a question mark, and tax rates for those making over $400,000 per year seem set to rise. That is, of course, if both houses of Congress can get the legislation through in time.

There's also the possibility of a bandage deal that maintains the status quo for a month or two. I don't think this is a good idea because it's a smaller version of kicking the can down the road that the government has been doing. We need a long-term deal in place, something that makes the changes permanent (or at least as permanent as legislation can be) because the markets will seize on that as a sign of political stability. That may help stabilize the Eurozone as well, something it drastically needs.

I'm frustrated with both sides but at least we're seeing signs of compromise. Maybe we'll actually see something get done in the next couple of days (or the next couple of weeks).
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